Should a serial killer be kept where he is?

dahn batchelor’s opinions… is shared by a lot of fellow Canadians..

The grounds and area surrounding the Mental Health Centre in Penetanguishene, Ontario are steeped in history. The original 380 acre site was chosen by Governor John Graves Simcoe as a naval and military base to protect the Upper Great Lakes from American threats in the aftermath of the War of 1812. Perched at the entrance of Penetanguishene Harbour, the site retains its commanding view of Severn Sound in Southern Ontario.

In 1933, the first four wards of the maximum security facility which is the Oak Ridge Division were constructed. Originally intended to provide custodial care for the ‘criminally insane,’ Oak Ridge was the only institution of its kind in Canada at the time. Prior to 1933, mentally disordered offenders were shunted around the province to other psychiatric hospitals in Ontario. Since patients were rarely released back into society in the early days, another four wards were added to Oak Ridge in the mid-1950’s bringing the current patient capacity to 312 for patients whose ages are 17 and up. The really dangerous criminally insane offenders are sent to this facility.

The Ontario Review Board annually reviews the status of every person who has been found to be not criminally responsible or who is considered unfit to stand trial for criminal offences on account of a mental disorder. The Ontario Review Board is established under the Criminal Code of Canada. The Board is made up of judges, lawyers, psychiatrists, psychologists and public members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

Ontario’s worst serial killer, Russell Johnson a.k.a. the ‘Bedroom Strangler’ has his sights on the pastoral setting of the Brockville mental-health facility that is perched on well-manicured lawns overlooking the St. Lawrence River. Psychiatrists described Johnson as a sexual sadist, a lust murderer and a necrophile. (has sex with dead bodies) Johnson (now 62) was the sexual sadist and necrophiliac who terrorized the London-St. Thomas-Guelph area back in the ’70s by stalking single women in apartment buildings, sometimes scaling 15 storeys, and then raping and strangling them in their beds. He sodomized one of them after he killed her. In 1978, he was charged with three murders. Later, he admitted to four additional murders and raping and choking 11 other women. The police believe that he has killed even more.

Now he wants to be sent to the Brockville Mental Health Centre, (a few hundred metres north of Lake Ontario) and comprises of several specialized units: Assessment Unit: a secure 9-bed unit providing acute care and assessment and treatment for court-ordered assessments; Forensic Rehabilitation Unit: a secure 24-bed unit providing medium-term care, assessment and treatment; Transition Unit 2: a secure 11-bed unit for patients requiring longer-term care, assessment and treatment, and a Transition Unit 1 that is a 15-bed unit providing medium-term care, assessment and treatment, as well as outreach and community reintegration services.

Russell Johnson is seeking a transfer from Oak Ridge via the Ontario Review Board. For Johnson, if the Board grants his request, it would be the equivalent of moving from a dungeon to the Ritz. He wants to spend the rest of his time in custody at the Ritz and I suppose, be eventually released back into society.

The people of Brockville are concerned that this man may end up walking about in their community and they have a right to be concerned. They haven’t forgotten David Kreuger, once a Penetang asylumist, and, more recently, Paul Delorme, another Penetang asylumist.

Peter Woodcock (born March 5, 1939) was a Canadian serial killer and child rapist who murdered three young children in Toronto, Canada in 1956 and 1957 when he was still a teenager. He was apprehended in 1957, declared legally insane and placed in Oak Ridge. In 1982, he legally changed his name to David Michael Krueger.

Woodcock murdered a fellow psychiatric patient in 1991 with a knife and hatchet at the medium-security hospital in Brockville, Ontario, during the first hour of his very first weekend pass. Woodcock was being supervised on the pass by Bruce Hamill, a former patient who killed an elderly Ottawa woman in 1984. Hamill was an accomplice in the Brockville murder, and both men were subsequently returned to Oak Ridge where Kruegar died on March 5, 2010 at the age of 71.

On a September day in 2001, Paul Norman Delorme, then 37 and a known child molester with a predilection for little girls, followed a 7-year-old girl into the women’s washroom of a Tim Hortons in this city, where he did exactly what his sexual deviancy made him prone to do.

What made the case particularly outrageous — and later the focus of a $3.6-million lawsuit by the girl’s family — was that Delorme was allowed to enter the restaurant unescorted, along with three other psychiatric patients, while Brockville Psychiatric staff waited outside in their vehicle.

In what seemed like a long shot at the time, Brockville Crown attorney Curt Flanagan — obviously fed up with the Delormes of this world being given such loose rein by psychiatrists who obviously didn’t know what they were doing, convinced superior court Justice Gerald Morin that Delorme, a long-term psychiatric case, was actually a dangerous offender, and not truly mentally ill. Therefore, instead of going back to Penetang, where his future movements would depend again upon the supposedly balanced discretion of the Ontario Review Board, Delorme was sent off to a maximum-security penitentiary setting, and a cell at the segregation wing of the Kingston Penitentiary within earshot of such notorious inmates as Paul Bernardo and cop-turned-killer Richard Wills and there, Delorme will likely die.

Johnson has long sought a transfer to a medium security psychiatric institution in Brockville. Unfortunately, his condition is as incurable as the scars borne by the victims’ families. Despite that, he is legally entitled to have his case reviewed annually by the Ontario Review Board. Although the membership of the Board has changed, it is the same Board that permitted child killer Peter Woodcock to be transferred to Brockville.

Three major topics arose during the eight-hour proceedings: the suitability of Brockville as a potential new home for Johnson; the murderer’s probability of re-offending; whether he feels any genuine remorse for his crimes.

Dr. John Bradford, a forensic psychiatrist who diagnosed Johnson as a sexual sadist upon examining him in 1985, spent the day testifying. Dr. Bradford holds a senior administrative and clinical position at Brockville. Johnson would not come under his care were a transfer request approved. Johnson’s present address is an all-male facility. Brockville has female patients, and residents are not locked in their rooms at night. Johnson would, in theory, be held in a secure, all-male wing. But he murdered women as they slept. Janice Blackburn, the attorney for Oak Ridge admitted that if Johnson was sent to Brockville, it would mean that for Johnson, “there is a sleeping-victim pool within the walls.”

Dr. Bradford was unable to provide an accurate measure of whether Johnson might re-offend, given an opportunity. The hearing heard how studies show recidivism rates for sexual offenders over the age of 60 to be 3.8%. The doctor pegged the rate for sexual sadists at two to three times higher. Johnson recidivism rate is beyond categorization because there are no statistics for him, because there is nobody else like him. The enormity of his crimes makes him unique. Dr. Bradford said, “Serial sadistic sexually motivated homicide is very rare. There are no benchmarks to go by vis-a-vis treatments.”

Most of the psychiatrists that have testified at these hearings have said for Johnson to be released, it would be ‘catastrophic. I suppose the people of Brockville are asking themselves, “Why do we need a catastrophe walking among us?”

Dr. Bradford believes the killer is remorseful. That he ‘feels badly’ about what he did. It is beyond me as to how anyone, even a psychiatrist can truly determine as to whether or not a serial killer really feels badly about what he has done. He has never expressed remorse to the families of his victims when they attended his previous hearings. So much for the validity of his remorse

To give you some idea as to what his real feelings are about the murders he committed, consider the following statement he made a few years ago at a previous hearing about the families of his victims.

“These people should stop living in the past. I have gotten on with my life. Why can’t they get on with theirs?”

That is how a serial killer with no sympathy for his victims or their families feels about his crimes.

The hearing has been adjourned until June 21st.

For almost 20 years, the Brockville Psychiatric Hospital had every reason to believe that psychopathic killer David Kreuger was its only nightmare on its elm-lined streets. If there was a demon, he was it. Then along came Paul Delorme, and the damage he recently brought and wrought. And now, potentially, the Bedroom Strangler may be moving in.

If the members of the Review Board approve his transfer to the Ritz, then in my opinion, they have no concern about the welfare of the citizens of Brockville or anyone else in society.

As I see it, Russell Johnson should remain in the maximum security Oak Ridge mental health facility for the criminally insane for the rest of his life. I haven’t made that statement out of a sense of revenge (although that would be understandable) but rather for the security of all the citizens in society. I don’t think anyone (other than soft-headed psychiatrists) want to see this serial killer roaming the streets ever again.

14 thoughts on “Should a serial killer be kept where he is?”

  1. Denis Kerr is my brother. He is the patient that was killed by Peter Woodcock. I can tell you that almost 30 years later, this still haunts and affects our family to this day.

  2. I find it ludicrous for him to be able to request, by law, an annual hearing. Haven’t the families been through enough? To have to go there year in and year out can only retard the healing process, And to what end? He ought to have been declared a dangerous offender.
    His Malignant Narcissistic Personality Disorder is reason enough to keep him at arm’s length from society.
    As Steve Smith ponts out, the Brockville community is not prepared to deal with him, nor is it their responsibility!

  3. My name is Steve Smith. I was in Oak Ridge in 1969.
    I knew Peter Woodcock and many of the other psychopathic patients.
    I wrote a book about my experience.
    BTW.. I stole a car.. it ended with a nine month stay in this notorious prison hospital.
    I can tell you there is good reason to worry about transferring violent offenders from Oak Ridge to Brockville.
    About ten years ago I was moderating an internet blog where many ex Oak Ridge patients made comments.
    Most were reasonable and well thought out questions but on one occasion there was a direct threat on the life an Oak Ridge doctor.
    As moderator of the blog I was able to pinpoint the location of where the threat came from.
    It was the Brockville Public Library computer.
    I of course reported this to Brockville police.
    It should have been easy to identify who was logged into the library computer at that time but according to police two things happened on that day.
    There was no log of who used the computer and he library video surveillance was down during that time frame.
    what a coincidence !
    I have my own opinions about how and why this happened but I’m not going to speculate here.
    Just take note of the incompetence.

  4. This man is an excuse of a human being. He murdered my aunt and in so doing killed the spirit of my family members. He has impacted on how I live my life to this day and I will dance on his grave and pop the champagne when I hear of his death. May it be slow, painful and scary. And may he never get a transfer to medium security. I will be at every hearing to make sure his actions and their consequences are never forgotten.

    1. I am with you and feel your pain.

      Denis was my brother. He was David/Peters last victim.

  5. This guy murdered a friend who was just sleeping in her bed after he scaled 16 floors of her apt building. Too many victims and too many people were affected by these murders. 37 years later and it still bothers me tremendously and it changed my trust in people. Out of my friend’s memory, I have followed this guy’s requests for transfer and ultimately release. He does NOT deserve it. No one wants him back in society. He is a threat to women everywhere.

  6. My parents knew Russell Johnson personally, they feel he needs to be kept where he is…he made many victims suffer along with leading a normal life, he had a girlfriend who had no idea when he was dropping her off at night that he was committing his murders…it takes a crazy mind to live two completely different lives…after following him for years thru the public eyes I believe he needs to be locked away…he impacted my mom in many ..right down to how she raised my sister and I…she looks at everyone with a skepticism… Its sad…he is a monster.

  7. This guy is a piece of garbage that should never leave maximum security. Please keep him where he belongs.

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